Wales

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ARTHUR’S QUOIT, Pembrokeshire

Arthur’s Quoit (or Coetan Arthur), according to legend, was thrown from nearby Carn Llidi by King Arthur. This is one of many 'Arthur's Quoits' in Britain - one source identifies more than 30. It is the remains of a single-chambered Neolithic burial chamber, or Dolmen, between 4 and 6,000 years’ old; the capstone (the bit that reminded folk of a quoit) is about 20’ long and now only supported, seemingly precariously, by one upright stone.

Post code is a guide only.  This Arthur's Quoit is located on St David's Head, where there is also the remains of a small prehistoric hut settlement, and can only be reached on foot. Park in Whitesands Bay and follow the coast path. Interesting site of a chapel dedicated to St Patrick on the way, where an early medieval cemetery has been excavated.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
St David's Head
County
Pembrokeshire
Post Code
SA62 6PS
Main Historic Period
Prehistory
Link to featured article
Tip/Nearby
Whitesands Bay
Primary Management
National Trust
BEAUMARIS CASTLE

Beaumaris was the last and largest of the massive castles constructed by English King Edward I to keep the Welsh subjugated.  Construction began in 1295, but Beaumaris was never finished.  Even so, it is often regarded as the most technically perfect medieval castle in Britain.  And it is a World Heritage Site.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Street, Beaumaris
County
Isle of Anglesey
Post Code
LL58 8AP
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Conwy Castle
Primary Management
Cadw
BEDD ARTHUR

Bedd Arthur, Beddarthur, or Arthur’s Grave is one of many sites in Britain associated with the burial of the legendary King Arthur. It is thought to be a small stone circle – actually vaguely elliptical in shape – now comprising 13 upright stones and 2 fallen ones. It is an unimpressive sight unless you are an enthusiast about these things and the stones are not large – about 2 feet (60cms) above ground. They seem to lean inward, leading to speculation that there was once a mound, or burial chamber, inside. It is a dramatic location, alongside an ancient trackway and overlooking the Carn Menyn outcrops, thought by some to be the main source of the Stonehenge bluestones. Some have even suggested that Bedd Arthur is a prototype Stonehenge.

Post code is nearby.  Access by foot only, wearing suitable clothing.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Nr Mynachlog-ddu
County
Pembrokeshire
Post Code
SA66 7RY
Main Historic Period
Prehistory
Tip/Nearby
Foel Trygarn, Carn Menyn
Primary Management
National Park
BRECON BEACONS (The)

The Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales was established in 1957.  It is a mountainous area covering 519 square miles (1344 square kilometres).  In fact, the Brecon Beacons includes four distinct mountain ranges, the Black Mountain range in the west, the Brecon Beacons themselves, often referred to as the Central Beacons, where the highest mountain, Pen-y-Fan, is located (2907 feet/886 metres), the Fforest Fawr upland area and, just to confuse everyone, the Black Mountains in the east - which include a peak called Black Mountain.

Brecon Beacons National Park is famed for its waterfalls (like Henrhyd Waterfall and Ystradfellte), caves and forests; you can lose yourself in its wilder parts.  It is proud to be an International Dark Sky Reserve and, like many of Britain’s National Parks, the Brecon Beacons are used for military training, including by elite special forces.  The area is also packed with ancient sites, castles and industrial heritage.  There is even a narrow-gauge heritage railway, the Brecon Mountain Railway, which runs about 5 miles between Pant and Torpantau.

Principal settlements in the Brecon Beacons National Park are Brecon, Crickhowell, Gilwern and Hay-on-Wye – famous for its bookshops and literary festival.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Plas y Ffynnon
Cambrian Way
Brecon
County
Powys
Post Code
LD3 7HP
Main Historic Period
N/A
Link to featured article
Primary Management
National Park
BUNNERS

Bunners describes itself as a traditional ironmonger, which it is; but it is so much more too.  In addition to the things you would expect, such as tools, brackets, hinges, paint and brushes, it sells toys, kitchenware and gifts.  It sells stoves and garden equipment.  Even fuel.  It has an enormous range.  Established in 1892, Bunners is still a family business and, inside, it is a little like stepping back in time.  There is a traditional shop counter with friendly, helpful, staff who know their stock.  You can still buy a single screw, rather than a pack of 10 or more.  Beyond the counter, the place is something of a rabbit warren and, frankly, worth exploring for the experience and education.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Arthur Street
Montgomery
County
Powys
Post Code
SY15 6RA
Main Historic Period
Edwardian
Link to featured article
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Old Bell Museum, Montgomery Castle
Primary Management
Private - open to the public
CAERNARFON CASTLE

Enormous medieval castle, with iconic polygonal towers, constructed from the late 13th century on the orders of Edward I as part of his strategy to subjugate the Welsh. It was built on the site of an earlier Norman castle and close to where a Roman fortress had once stood. The castle and town then became the English administrative HQ for North Wales and was besieged many times - and captured too.

Caernarfon Castle is part of the World Heritage Site "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd".

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Ditch
Caernarfon
County
Gwynedd
Post Code
LL55 2AY
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Tip/Nearby
Harlech, Conwy and Beaumaris castles are part of the same World Heritage Site.
Primary Management
Cadw
Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle is simply enormous. Huge. It is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest in Britain, after Windsor. It covers a 30-acre site and is a mass of concentric defensive walls, surrounded by moats and artificial lakes. It was built by the Norman Gilbert de Clare, known as Gilbert the Red for his red hair, mainly between 1268 and 1271, in order to subdue the Welsh - and it still dominates the area. The castle declined as it became redundant and it was rescued from total ruin by the Bute family in the 19th century.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Street
Caerphilly
County
Glamorgan
Post Code
CF83 1JD
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Castel Coch
Primary Management
Cadw
Cardiff Castle

First a Roman fort, then a late 11th century Norman castle, Cardiff Castle became a medieval fortress involved in the Anglo-Norman wars against the native Welsh. It was held by both Royalist and Parliamentary forces during the Civil War and managed to escape the destruction meted out on many of its contemporaries. Eventually, in 1766, it passed by marriage to the Bute family. The 2nd Marquess of Bute turned Cardiff into the world’s greatest coal exporting port and his son John, the 3rd Marquess, was reputed to be the richest man in the world. The 3rd Marquess employed the architect William Burges to create a Victorian Gothic revival mansion, transforming the castle with astonishingly opulent interiors, brimming with murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. After the death of the 4th Marquess of Bute, in 1947 the family gave the Castle and much of its parkland to the city of Cardiff and it is now one of Wales’ most popular visitor attractions.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Street
Cardiff
County
Cardiff
Post Code
CF10 3RB
Main Historic Period
Victorian
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
City centre
Primary Management
Local Authority
CARDIGAN CASTLE

Cardigan Castle (Castell Aberteifi) began as an earth and timber Norman fortress in the early 12th century. It was captured by The Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1171 and rebuilt in stone – the first stone castle built by a Welshman.  To mark the achievement, he held the first national Eisteddfod there in 1176.  The castle changed hands various times through the years.  It was slighted by the Parliamentary Forces during the Civil War of the 17th century and converted to peaceful use in the 18th, when large parts of it were demolished to build an elegant house and garden inside its walls.  A pillbox was added in the Second World War.

Sadly, the last owner of Cardigan Castle, Barbara Wood, could not afford the upkeep and ended up living in a caravan in the grounds. The property crumbled, decayed and became overgrown.  A successful public campaign saw Cardigan Castle purchased by Ceredigion Council, be gradually restored and, finally, opened to the public in 2015.  What little remains of the medieval building is incorporated into the mansion, where there are temporary and permanent exhibitions.  To be fair, it's not much of a castle, but the small, attractive, gardens are nicely tended, it is pleasant to walk round the walls, there is a decent café and regular events and functions are held there.

Sometimes events necessitate closure of the castle to the public, so check before making a special journey

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Green Street
Cardigan
County
Ceredigion
Post Code
SA43 1JA
Main Historic Period
Georgian
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Cilgerran Castle, Welsh Coastal Path, Pentre Ifan
Primary Management
Local Authority
Carew Castle

Carew Castle was built by the Norman Gerald de Windsor, constable of Pembroke Castle, on the site of an Iron Age fortification. Gerald had married the renowned beauty, Princess Ness, and the manor of Carew was part of her dowry. Gerald's son assumed the name de Carew and he and his descendants enlarged the castle. By the 15th century, it was in the hands of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, a supporter of Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth (1485). However, Sir Rys' grandson was executed for treason and the castle came into the hands of Sir John Perrot, who undertook extensive modernisation. Perrot, in turn, fell from favour and the castle returned to the de Carew family, changing hands three times during the Civil War, only to be abandoned in 1686. It is leased to the National Park Authority, which has undertaken extensive restoration work.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Castle Lane
Carew
County
Pembrokeshire
Post Code
SA70 8SL
Main Historic Period
Medieval
Tip/Nearby
Carew Tidal Mill is on the same site
Primary Management
National Park

This is a growing listings directory – over 950 entries have been listed as of September 2022. 

Entries have links for further information, such as opening times and entry fees.

If your favourite attraction is not listed yet, and you have a good quality digital photograph of it that you are able to freely send, please get in touch

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